How much the camera will change you depends on how you work. Some people use 35mm tied to a tripod with a handheld meter. For them even an 8x10 won't change how they work that much.
OTOH some people almost spray the camera around. Full auto with the power winder flying. For those people the bigger slower cameras will force them to change. Something like one of the auto MF won't change them to the same extent.
So pick a camera that will fit how you'd like to work.
I personally think an 11x14 from a 645 looks like a 5x7 from 35mm film. If you like gritty looking 35mm prints then MF might be a BAD choice. It all depends on what your final goal is.
Hey, thanks guys. That's very useful.
To answer a few of the questions put to me :
1) Usage - my main photography is dog photography (i.e. usually action or quick reaction photography), so as pentaxuser and a couple of others have said, it sounds like MF might not be suited to this, whereas my very fast F5 is.
2) Subjects - when not photographing dogs, my other two main areas are Macro and landscapes. I imagine MF might be better suited to this, especially the landscape work, as everyone else has said.
Well remembered!! The wedding I shot was my first one, and I'm not sure I'll be doing another. I didn't enjoy it as much as my canine work!
It might help if you were to say what purpose you intend to put MF to, as compared to 35mm. For instance I wouldn't bother with MF, despite there being a 80-160 zoom for the P645, if it were action photographs at the Isle of Man TT races!
A Koni Omega would work fine for the work you do, and it's a 6x7 rangefinder. It'll work as fast as a non-motorized 35mm. Koni's really cheaply priced, but great rigs.
Get a couple of backs.
Well now, I think any MF camera with a waist level will serve you well for dog photography. Mind you, there are waistlevel options among the Nikon F's too.
I don't think I'd want an ordinary eye-level VF for dogs and little kids and such.
If you're photographing dogs. Dogs like children are fast! They are always on the go and they don't care what you are trying to achieve photography wise.
Stick with 35mm for candid image and try your hand with medium format for more posed images.
You could use a 645 camera. A "Glorified 35" as my old commercial lab workers would say. A wedding photographers choice of camera. But, a 6x7 camera is what I used since my early twenties. The format fits how I see with not much cropping. And I get great results from my enlargements. I rarely print anything larger then 11x14.
The Mamiya RB is a tank and works best with a good tripod.
My two cents.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit"
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
I've been a predominantly 35mm format photographer for the past 30-odd years but have had dalliances with a Mamiya C330, Mamiya 645 and Mamiya 7 until I got my hands on a Bronica SQ-B and 3 lenses (40mm, 80mm and 150mm). I still have my Nikon F100 (+ D200 and D300) and always use 35mm when I'm likely to need to shoot in a hurry.
MF makes me slow down and think more about whet I'm doing and why. I also have to use a hand-held meter to get a proper reading and then adjust for any highlights / shadows. It's a wonderful way to work and I can't recommend the Bronica too highly. I'm sure there's a more scientific formula but I was told that, as a rule, divide the MF lens focal length by 8 and multiply by 5 to get a rough equivalent of the 35mm lens. therefore my lenses equate to 25mm, 50mm and 95mm - so I'm set for everything from landscapes to portraits.
You'll also need a tripod as they're not always that easy to hand hold and, with the mirror locked up, you can get some incredibly sharp photos at narrow apertures.
Good luck and I hope you enjoy MF photography. PJ.
Paul Jenkin (a late developer...)
I was just talking about dog photography the other day with my friend who was hired to take pictures of puppies.
I thought that dogs would move all-around too, especially puppies, but he said that if you put a puppy on a two foot square table several feet above the ground, they will be scared to death and remain perfectly still. He said that instead of investing on an improved camera, use a decent camera, but invest in a two flash off camera lighting setup (syncs, flashes, stands, umbrellas). He showed me puppy prints with one off-camera flash and two, and I have to say that the two-light setup was markedly better.
Now if you are photographing racing hounds, then by all means, use a fast lensed 35mm SLR. As for macro and landscape/architecture, which I enjoy, I can say that the RB67 with WLF is highly conducive toward those subjects. I really like using the 127mm lens with extension tubes 1 and 2 to get some very nice 1:1 shots on slide film.
A very good read and a book which answers quite a few questions you have asked and a good few that you have not is : "MEDIUM AND LARGE FORMAT PHOTOGRAPHY, Moving Beyond 35mm for Better Pictures" by Roger Hicks and Frances Schulz (ISBN 0-8174-4557-9). If you can lay your hands on a copy of this , (it is still in print as far as I know), you will find that it makes the case for medium and large format very convincingly. Even action photography can be approached using the right medium format equipment and a slightly different approach ie, prefocus, sportsfinders etc.
If you want to do fast photography on MF, try a Holga. 2 shutter speeds and a flash. You could also spool some 35mm film onto a 120 spool, and take photos like that, because you would get the image on the wind-on-hole-thingys as well. Theres no focusing needed on Holgas and they're dirt dirt cheap, about £25.
I agree totally. The quality of the lenses is high, and the cameras are built like tanks. They're definitely the biggest bang for the buck.
Originally Posted by mikebarger